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August 10, 2000

Dear Client:

I hope that this summer has been going well with you. I would like to bring you up to date on what has been happening at Paskvan Consulting, and then as I mentioned in my last newsletter, I will talk a little about the differences in nitrogen fertilizer.

Soil Consulting in Cyberspace

The first news is that our Web page is up and running. We still have a little more tweaking to do, but for all practical purposes it is finished and waiting for your visit. You can view it at As you will see on the Web site, we have also added another mailbox to our business. We can also be reached at

We are very proud of our site. We have worked very hard to capture not only what we do, but also what we stand for. Service is our business watchword, and we carry that through to our Web site as well. For example, we are posting our newsletters to the Web site. If you need to review past letters, you can view them at our site.

Moreover, we are now working on an additional page dedicated to creating an Internet community of quality businesses dedicated to golf course construction and maintenance. Our first find in that regard is a relatively new Web site called "" This is a fast-growing online site dedicated to golf professionals and course superintendents. It's a great one-stop place to find almost anything you need to equip or maintain your golf course. So, if you know of someone who is interested in our services, please let them know we are on the Web.

One more thing before we leave this. If your course has a Web page, please send me your URL and I will put a link on my Web page. If you don't have a Web page, or your course is thinking about having a Web page made, then stop and visit with Dan at "" and have him advise you on what you need.

Nitrogen Sources

In the last newsletter I mentioned that I would briefly touch on the differences in nitrogen fertilizers. Mainly I want to touch on ammonium sulfate and urea as they are the most commonly used in the golf course business.

In most of the recommendations that I make, my first choice is going to be ammonium sulfate. There are a number of reasons for that. First of all, most of the soils that I deal with are calcareous sands that have a fairly high pH. The higher the pH, the more calcium and phosphorus are going to be tied up and unavailable to the plant. In order to make those available to the plants, plus other minerals that are tied up due to the pH, we need to be using acid based fertilizers, or fertilizers that will help lower the pH of the soil around the root hair. Ammonium sulfate is a nitrogen source that will help us do that. Secondly, because ammonium sulfate carries a positive charge, it can cling to the negative charge of the soil colloid, acting more like a slow release type nitrogen; and because it needs to be broken down before the plants can utilize it, we are feeding the microbes in the soil. Remember that the microbes are the intermediaries between the fertilizer and the plants. The healthier we can keep the soil and the microbes, the healthier plants we can raise.

Also, by using ammonium sulfate we are adding sulfur to the soil in the S0-4 form. Plants need sulfur at about the same level as they need phosphorus, and by using ammonium sulfate we're not only adding sulfur to the plant, but it is in a form that the plant can use immediately. It does not need to be broken down. Also, ammonium sulfate has a very good energy rating.

Urea, on the other hand, is also a synthetic type of nitrogen, which is in the same form as animal urine. It is one of the cheapest forms of nitrogen to produce, which is one of the reasons it is pushed so much. There is a good profit margin with it. One of the pluses in using urea is that it promotes what I call green growth, but the energy levels of urea are only fair. That may be due in part to the fact that when urea breaks down, it gives off formaldehyde residues. These residues will have a negative impact on soil microbes. Also, urea is subject to volatilization if it is not watered in quickly. Another reason I am not partial to urea is that it may tend to dry out soils. Now before you think that I am totally against urea, I am not. Urea is a very good foliar feed. Plants can use urea nitrogen with little internal energy usage when it is foliar applied.

These are just some very brief reasons why I prefer the use of ammonium sulfate to urea. We can visit more about this at a later date or in person.

New Irrigation Test Will Lower Your Costs

One more thing before I leave you. It looks as though Brookside is working on developing a new effluent irrigation test that is going to combine nitrate nitrogen , total phosphorus plus heavy metals. What that means to you is the same high quality test at a savings to you. I will keep you informed as to the progress of this.

Again I hope all is well. It appears that this has been a good summer for most of you. As usual if you have any questions, please feel free to call.


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